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Clean and Green Retail Ordinance

Information and FAQS pertaining to the City's Clean and Green Ordinance

Temporary Notice

Businesses in Albuquerque are allowed to use any type of plastic bag for their customers and the City’s Environmental Health Department will suspend enforcement of the plastic bag ban citywide until May 15, 2020. Businesses are still encouraged to use paper bags if available. Learn more.

On January 1, 2020, Albuquerque's Clean and Green Retail Ordinance (O-48) will take effect throughout the city. The new law aims to improve our environment by curbing the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Residents For Businesses


For Residents

Which plastic bags are banned?

Any single-use plastic bag for the purpose of carrying products from the point of sale. This includes compostable bags and all plastic bags less than 2.25 mils thick.

Why ban plastic bags?

  • Plastic bags are a significant source of litter along roadways and in open spaces.
  • Plastic bags are produced from oil and gas and remain in the environment essentially forever.

Can't we recycle plastic bags?

Plastic bags can't be recycled in your blue cart. Plastic bags can be recycled in cardboard receptacles located at many local retail stores. Download a list of updated participating locations. Please call and confirm with the location before taking your plastic bags to be recycled.

How will I carry my groceries home?

Making the switch to reusable bags is recommended, and some retailers give rebates to customers who bring their own bags to the store. There is nothing in the ordinance that prevents customers from bringing their own bags of any type to take home their groceries. Retail stores will provide a compliant bag at the point of sale.

Where can I purchase or find reusable bags?

  • Local grocery retailers
  • Discount retail stores
  • Online
  • Various community events

What should I do with the paper shopping bags that I receive?

Reuse them, recycle them, or donate clean ones to your neighborhood food bank. Paper bags with food or grease on them should go into your trash cart.

Can businesses provide reusable plastic bags or paper bags?

Yes, businesses may substitute paper grocery bags or other types of reusable plastic bags which are at least 2.25 mils thick. They may be provided free or charged for at the store's discretion.

Can businesses provide single-use plastic bags made of compostable material?

No, not unless they are 2.25 mils thick.

Can restaurants provide single-use plastic bags?

Yes. The Ordinance does not apply to food service establishments.

What other food service establishments qualify for an exemption?

In addition to restaurants, snack bars, food trucks, bakeries, and delis are exempt.

Can dry cleaners provide bags?

Yes, dry cleaning bags are exempt.

I use plastic bags to pick up my pet's waste. What will I use instead?

Local pet stores sell bags specifically for this purpose and sale of these bags will not be affected by the Ordinance. Existing pet waste stations on trails and in parks will continue to provide plastic bags for discarding pet waste.

What about bakery goods?

Bakeries are exempt and bags of any kind may be used for individual bakery goods, loaves of bread, and other pastries.

Is there an information sheet available with more information to share with my neighborhood?

Yes. Download the resident flyer that lists three key facts about the Ordinance.

What should I do if a store is using plastic bags?

To report concerns about a store using plastic bags, call 311. You will need to provide the name of the business and its address to the 311 representative. Remember, food service establishments, food banks, and dry cleaners are exempt from the Ordinance. Complaints about these establishments using plastic bags will not be taken.

Who may I contact for additional information?

Call 311.


For Businesses

What businesses are affected by the Ordinance?

All businesses within Albuquerque's city limits except for food service establishments, food banks, and dry cleaners. Most retail establishments are subject to the new Ordinance including the following stores:

  • Grocery
  • Department
  • Hardware
  • Liquor
  • Convenience
  • Gift
  • Thrift
  • Book
  • Other retail stores and vendors

There is no exemption for small retailers.

What about food vending trucks, farmers' markets, street fairs, festivals, and events?

They are considered special events and are exempt.

Which plastic bags are allowed?

  • Laundry or dry cleaning bags
  • Restaurant, food service or prepared food counter bags for takeout
  • Meat and produce bags
  • Newspaper and door hanger bags
  • Pet waste, yard waste, and garbage bags
  • Bags provided by pharmacists or veterinarians to contain prescriptions drugs or medical necessities as specified by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Bulk item bags such as for food or hardware items
  • Bags or plastic wraps for flowers or potted plants
  • Reusable plastic bags with minimum thickness of 2.25 mils
  • Bags of any type that a shopper brings to the store for his or her own use to carry away goods at the point of sale
  • Jumbo plastic bags for bedding, furniture, balloons etc.
  • Garment bags

Does the Ordinance require the City to charge businesses a fee for giving out plastic bags, reusable, or paper bags to their customers?

Non-compliant plastic bags may not be issued to customers, even for a fee. The City will not charge any fees for compliant bags, such as reusable bags or paper grocery bags.

Are there any restrictions on businesses choosing to charge a fee on all bags?

No, there are no requirements. This decision is up to the business.

If my business collects bags from customers for recycling, can I reuse the good ones as carryout bags?

No, plastic bags collected from customers cannot be given out to other customers as point of sale bags. Customers may bring in and reuse their own, subject to the policy of the store.

What type of bag is considered reusable?

A reusable bag is specifically designed for multiple use and is constructed of cloth, other washable fabric, or other durable materials with a minimum thickness of 2.25 mils thick. This is equivalent to about two sheets of stacked copy paper.

What should businesses do if they have stockpiles of plastic bags that last beyond the January 1, 2020 effective date of the ban?

Businesses with locations outside of Albuquerque can ship their bag inventory to those locations. Local businesses should consider donating their remaining stock of single-use plastics bags to a local food bank.

Will leniency be give on bags that are almost 2.5 mils thick?

No. Should a question arise, businesses should be prepared to show that the bags they are using are 2.25 mils thick or greater. It might a good idea for businesses to ask bag suppliers to include the thickness of the bag on invoices or have the thickness printed directly on the bag.

What are the differences between the County and the municipal ordinances?

The City Ordinance is in effect within the Albuquerque City limits only. The Bernalillo County Plastic Bag and Styrofoam Ban will be in effect in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County only. Download a copy of Bernalillo County's Ordinance.

What are the penalties for not complying with these new requirements?

The Ordinance describes enforcement options, including fines for violations of the Ordinance.

What is the City's plan for informing businesses and residents about the Ordinance?

The City will continue to provide information through social media, Chamber of Commerce, business associations, water bill inserts, and other communication tools.

Are retailers allowed to use existing stocks of plastic bags after January 1, 2020?

No, retailers are required to clear stocks prior to the Ordinance taking effect.

Is there an information sheet available that I can share with my customers?

Yes. Download the resident flyer that lists three key facts about the Ordinance.

Is there an information sheet available for businesses?

Yes. Download the business flyer.

Who may I contact for additional information?

Call 311.

Download a copy of the Clean and Green Retail Ordinance.

Last Updated: 11:13 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

311 Community Contact Center

Open regular hours. Report issues anytime with the OneABQ app.

ABQ RIDE & Sun Van

  • Beginning Saturday, March 28, all service will operate on a Saturday schedule for the foreseeable future.
  • ART service will suspend entirely on Saturday, March 28.
  • ABQ RIDE is allowing students 18 years of age and younger can ride free on all ABQ RIDE fixed route buses to make it easier for students to get Grab & Go meals while APS schools are closed.
  • ABQ RIDE is using a comprehensive approach to keep fixed route and Sun Van riders and drivers as safe as possible.
  • Service is running as normal, and ABQ RIDE is reminding riders to frequently wash their hands, cough into their sleeves, and call the NMDOH hotline if you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • ABQ RIDE increased nightly cleaning and sanitation of each bus and Sun Van, bringing in 10 additional temporary staff to assist with that workload.
  • ABQ RIDE will place new information about any service changes or updates on its message monitors at ART platforms, push notices on the ABQ RIDE App, ABQ RIDE website, Text2Ride service, social media platforms, and signs on fare boxes on the buses. 311 is also a great resource for people looking for information.
  • All ABQ RIDE routes that serve the Rail Runner will be closed due to the NM Rail Runner suspending service.
  • The ABQ Ride customer service lobby is closed, but purchases can still be made at the customer service windows.

Airport

  • All of the Sunport’s bars and full-service restaurants are temporarily closed following the State’s latest orders. Fast food and pre-packaged take away items are still available and any seating within the food court area has been adjusted to accommodate the 6 foot rule. Please see the Sunport’s website for a full list of hours and accommodations.
  • TSA is allowing up to 12 oz. hand sanitizer in carry-on bags
  • TSA is accepting expired state licenses with an expiration date of March 1, 2020 or later
  • Concessionaires have switched to pre-packaged plastic utensils
  • Customs and Border Protection has suspended operation of the Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers, including the Sunport’s Global Entry office
  • The State Department of Health has set up a staffed information center on-site as passengers exit the concourse
  • We are encouraging anyone picking up or dropping off passengers to use curbside services rather than entering the terminal
  • Airline flight schedules have been heavily effected by COVID-19, including flights into and out of the Sunport. Passengers should contact their airline directly for information pertaining to upcoming flights or for flight cancellations. Airline contact information can be found on the Sunport’s website.

Albuquerque BioPark

All BioPark facilities will be closed until after April 15, including indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Animal Shelters

AWD shelters have new processes for adoptions, intake, and reclaims. The shelters are incorporating enhanced cleaning procedures to maximize the safety of the public as well as their employees, volunteers, and animals. Pet adoption fees have been waived.

APD Records

Closed for walk-in requests. Submit a police report to (505) 768-2020 or [email protected]. APD Records personnel are available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

APS Playground Recreation

APS Playground Recreation programs at APS facilities are canceled while schools are closed.

Board & Commission Meetings

All meetings are postponed until after April 15.

Child Development Centers

All Childhood Development Centers are closed effective March 24, including the Early Head Start Program, Preschool Program, NM Pre-K program and all home-based services. Learn more.

City Clerk's Office

Closed to the public but will continue to process requests to inspect public records that are received electronically. Inspection of Public Records requests that have already been processed will resume when the office is re-opened. The City Clerk’s office will still accept summonses, appeals, and subpoenas. They should be submitted electronically to: [email protected]

City Hall & Other City Buildings

All city buildings are closed to the public. Access will be granted to employees by use of badge only. Report issues online or via the OneABQ App.

Civilian Police Oversight Agency

CPOA is operating in a modified capacity and is unable to hold in-person intakes, interviews, or meetings. Please utilize our website to file complaints or commendations by submitting your form online. Contact our office by email ([email protected]). Staff are still available during business hours.

Community Centers

Community centers will be closed to the general population. Programs for children run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at all community centers except Thomas Bell and Jack Candelaria and will offer meals to children. Programs are limited to 45 students per community center and registration is required.

Cultural Facilities

Indoor cultural facilities including the Albuquerque Museum, Explora, Balloon Museum, Casa San Isidro, are closed through April 15.

Development Review Services

Applications should be submitted via email to [email protected] (if files are less than 9MB in size). Files larger than 9MB can be sent to [email protected] using https://wetransfer.com. Some application fees may be payable on line and some may have to be in person. Receipt of payment can be sent via email.

Economic Development, Film, & Small Business Offices

Closed to the public for in person service but can be reached by calling (505) 768-3270.

Esperanza Bicycle Safety Education Center

Closed.

Events

The City has cancelled all events booked by third parties City facilities through April 15.

Everyday Adoption Center

Closed at this time. View information about new processes for pet adoptions.

Golf Center at Balloon Fiesta Park

Closed.

Golf Courses

All City golf courses are closed for play.

Health & Social Service Centers

Open to provide critical services.

Horsemen’s Complex

Closed; however, owners must continue to care for their animals.

Jerry Cline Tennis & Recreation Center

Facility closed through April 15, however, six courts on the south side of the facility are open and can be accessed via the gate along Constitution. No payments will be accepted until April 4. The deadline for summer league registration is being extended until mid April. The season will now begin in mid May.

Joint Information Center

Open for media inquiries via phone (505) 244-8674 or e-mail: [email protected]

KiMo Theatre

Closed through April 15.

Large Group Gatherings

All gatherings of more than 50 people are cancelled through April 15. Report gatherings in Albuquerque by calling 311 for code enforcement review.

Large Vehicle Permit

The City of Albuquerque has temporarily suspended issuing oversize/overweight permits for travel on City streets. This only applies to City streets. The State will continue to require and issue permits for travel on State roads. There end date for this suspension is not available at this time.

Libraries

All branches are closed through April 15. The library is offering many digital services, including resources for families and children. Any library card that was due for a scheduled update during this period has been updated through May 1.

Lucky Paws Adoption Center

Closed at this time. View information about new processes for pet adoptions.

Maloof Air Park

Closed.

Open Space Visitors Center

Closed through April 15.

Open Spaces

Fees at Elena Gallegos Open Space and Boca Negra Canyon will be waived beginning Tuesday, March 17.

Parking Meters & Garages

We have not suspended any rules for parking. Parking garages are open for your convenience.

Paying Parking Tickets & Parking Permits

The Parking Enforcement office is closed. You can pay your ticket online. We are not offering parking permits at this time. We have temporarily suspended escalation of tickets to Metro Court.

Planning Department

Plaza del Sol will be closed to the public. Permitting will continue via telephone, while inspections and field work will continue as normal. A drop box will be set up for applicants to drop any paperwork. Staff will pick up and review submissions and then set a time for applicants to pick up any permits.

Playgrounds

All playgrounds in City parks are closed, although the parks themselves will remain open.

Police Substations

All community substations are open but the public is encouraged to submit police reports online. Five substations are taking donations for seniors. Learn more.

Public Safety

Increased presence of Albuquerque Police Department and Albuquerque Fire Rescue throughout the community. Prioritizing continuity of critical public safety services.

Records Center

Closed until further notice. The City Clerk's Office will continue to process requests to inspect public records that are received electronically. Inspection of Public Records requests that have already been processed will resume when the office is re-opened.

Senior Centers

All Senior, Multigenerational and 50+ Fitness Centers are closed and all events at these centers have been canceled or postponed. View information about Senior Meals.

Senior Meals

The following centers will temporarily serve as lunch distribution sites between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., where individuals can pick up their meal outside the Center and take it home: Barelas Senior Center, Los Volcanes Senior Center, Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, North Valley Senior Center. Bernalillo County meal sites also closed. Home delivered meals will continue operate as normal. Seniors 60+ interested in receiving meals from Senior Affairs should call (505) 764-6400; priority service is for home bound seniors.

Senior Transportation

Transportation, Care Coordination and the Senior Information Line (505) 764-6400 are all operating as usual.

Shooting Range Park

Closed.

Sierra Vista Tennis Center

Tennis courts are open for use.

South Broadway Cultural Center

All events at the SBCC are cancelled through April 15.

Spring Break Programs

All Spring Break youth programs are canceled.

Swimming Pools

City pools and aquatic centers will be closed through April 15.

Tax Preparation Services

Tax preparation services are cancelled.

Transit

All ABQ RIDE routes that serve the Rail Runner will be closed due to the NM Rail Runner suspending service. The ABQ Ride customer service lobby is closed, but purchases can still be made at the customer service windows.

Trash & Recycling

All collection operations are operating as usual. SWMD front desk requires use of the buzzer to access the building. If you require assistance from SWMD, please call (505) 768-8100.